By Jennifer Smith

In the default layout in InDesign, you see a large area for the document. To the right of the document are several panels that snap to the edge of the workspace — panels that are attached to the edge of the workspace are considered docked. Panels are used to control the publication and edit elements on pages. Panels can be maximized, minimized, moved around, or closed altogether.

To expand a panel, you can simply click the panel name, and it expands. The panels you expand are automatically collapsed again when a different panel is selected.

If you’d rather work with all panels expanded, simply click the left-facing double arrows on the gray bar above the panels. You can collapse all the panels again by clicking the right-facing double arrows on the gray bar above the expanded panels.

Even though some InDesign panels perform different functions, similar panels are grouped together depending on what they’re used for. You can change the groupings by clicking and dragging a panel’s tab into another grouping.

Some panels change when you’re manipulating specific types of content on an InDesign page. To begin with, briefly look at two general InDesign panels: Control and Pages.

Control panel

The Control panel, located across the top of the document window, is used to edit just about any element you have selected in InDesign, as shown for the Type tool in this figure. This panel is context sensitive, so it changes depending on which element you’ve selected on a page.

For example, if you have selected text within a frame on the page, the Control panel displays options allowing you to edit the text. If you have a shape selected, the panel displays options allowing you to modify the shape.

InDesign's control panel

This figure shows the Control panel when a frame is selected using the Selection tool. The Control panel menu allows you to select options for the frame.

Control panel in InDesign allows you to edit your selection.

Pages panel

You can control pages by using the Pages panel, as shown in the figure. This panel allows you to arrange, add, and delete pages in your document. If you are creating electronic documents, you can also use the Pages panel for creating alternative layouts for vertical and horizontal displays on a tablet. You can also navigate among pages with this panel.

The Pages panel in InDesign

You can also add and delete pages by choosing Layout→Pages, and even use a keyboard shortcut to add pages, Ctrl+Shift+P (Windows) or Cmd+Shift+P (Mac).

You can hide all open panels (including the Control panel) by pressing the Tab key; press Tab for them to return to view. In InDesign CC, you can leave tools and panels hidden and access them when you want by moving the cursor to the left or right side of the work area.

Hover your cursor over the thin vertical gray bar on either side, and the tools or panels (depending on which side of the workspace you’re in) reappear! By the way, they go away again after you leave the area.

You can navigate the document’s pages by using the left- and right-arrow buttons on either side of the page number in the lower-left corner of the document window. You can also move to a specific page by entering a page number into the page field and pressing Enter/Return or by selecting the page from the drop-down list in the lower-left corner of the Document window.